5 Myths About Law School and Lawyers In General
When you talk to people about becoming a lawyer you get two different types of looks. One is a look of being impressed as they can appreciate the effort and determination to go through law school and passing the bar exam. The other look is from nay Sayers that think all lawyers are scumbags. While there is always a bad egg in the bunch, lawyers have unfairly been judged by the community. This is most often because these individuals don’t understand what goes into becoming a lawyer or have outdated information about what a Lawyer does for a living. Below I will debunk 10 myths about lawyers and the educational process they go through to become lawyers, also known as “dreaded” law school.
1. Many Law Schools Only Look at GPA and LSAT Scores When Determining Admission. In many cases this is false. For the more prestigious law schools in the nation each law school may take the personal statements and make admission decisions strictly off of these. Many times these establishments receive applications from hundreds or thousands of individuals that have top GPA’s and LSAT scores. The only way to separate the applicants is from their personal statements. When applying to law school do not undervalue your personal statements!
2. Law School Professors Will Walk You Through Courses. Some individuals don’t give aspiring attorneys the credit they deserve for graduating from law school. They might think that the law professors job is to walk each student through the requirements to pass the bar exam. This simply isn’t true. Professors holding students hands through the course is a undergraduate luxury that simply doesn’t exist in graduate school let alone law school. A legal career as an attorney is competitive and the professors don’t care how many people pass their class. They get paid regardless.
3. Law School Prepares You For The Bar Exam. This isn’t exactly a myth but more of a “half truth”. Law school typically teaches you about the facts and other book knowledge required to a practicing attorney. However, taking this information and utilizing it within a real life legal proceeding is something each individual has to learn on their own. The Bar exam takes into account book knowledge and every day legal execution of said knowledge. Law school preparing individuals for the bar exam is a common myth and is one of the big reasons why students enroll in training courses before taking the bar exam.
4. All Lawyers Make Six Figure Salaries and Enjoy Many Other Luxuries. Would you be shocked to hear that most newly graduated attorneys make between $40,000 and $50,000 dollars? The competition for legal positions is so great these days that only the top of the graduating classes enjoy the six figure salaries and extended luxuries. In addition there are many attorneys that take public defender positions which are government paid jobs in which they defend people accused of crimes that can’t afford legal representation. As with many government positions they are not highly compensated for their time or knowledge. The next time your “lawyer friend” doesn’t pick up the dinner tab don’t assume their being cheap. Not every lawyer drives fancy cars and has money falling out of their pockets.
5. Being A Lawyer Is Always Full Of Excitement and Daily Challenge. You may be surprised that when talking to lawyers that a lot of the time they do the same repetitive and routine work. Not every day gets to be the excitement you see on “Law and Order” where you see arguments within the courtroom and the judge’s chambers. A lot of a lawyer’s time is spent researching the law, writing up documents and even tracking their own time. In some cases lawyers will have to break up their billable time by 15 minute intervals. So the next time you watch that movie that involves the thrilling legal proceeding remember that in real life that many hours are spent reading legal books, scoping the internet and filling out billing paperwork. They don’t include this in the movies well because that’s not exciting!
While the career of a lawyer can be extremely fulfilling it unfortunately has a lot of negative attention brought to it. Starting from undergraduate schooling through passing the bar exam every day requires you put your best foot forward as nothing is guaranteed. There will always be that shady looking personal injury lawyer on the TV encouraging everyone to call them about spilled hot coffee but this is the minority of the profession. Hopefully this article if anything has debunked some of the more common myths associated with Lawyers and process it takes to become one.